Viva l’Italia!

And the first F-35 transatlantic crossing has gone to the Italian air force (Aeronautica Militare). As reported by FlightGlobal, an Italian made, maintained and flown F-35A Lightning II (#AL-1) made the puddle jump supported by an AM KC-767 tanker (with just 7 refuelings!)

The aircraft took off today from Lajes Field on Portugal’s Azores island group at 7.30am local time before turning south over Canada to touch down at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland at about 2.24pm on 5 February – approximately 7h and more than 2,000nm later.

At the controls was Italian test pilot Maj Gianmarco, callsign “Ninja” – a former Panavia Tornado pilot who graduated from the multinational F-35A pilot school at Luke AFB in Arizona in November and has accumulated 80h of flight time on the type.

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